Symphonic Poems are usually single movement pieces that evolve around a particular theme, painting, poem, landscape, etc. In this case, it is a historical fact that supplies the inspiration for this thrilling piece. In 218 BC the Carthaginian General Hannibal Barca, in war with the Romans, crossed the Alps with his colossal army and 37 war elephants. The Alps were a natural barrier thought to be uncrossable, and that protected the Romans for centuries. Hannibal challenged the impossible when he decided to carry his elephants and his men across the treacherous routes of the mountain chain. Yet he succeeded and thus threatened the Roman Empire like no one else had ever done before.

This orchestral work is inspired by the strength and perseverance that took the Carthaginians to win their challenge. The main melody symbolizes Hannibal and his commands. His elephants (symbolized by the brass section), on the other hand always reply in hoar. The music presents then lavishing marches and eerie moments that capture the freezing cold of the massifs and the sense of heroism of the army. Tragedy and chaos find them in musical storms that burst from the orchestra. However, the triumphal swich to the major key at the end represents the victory over the mighty rocks and then the bloodhungry threat to the Roman supremacy.